Innovating innovation in teaching and learning

This short presentation “Linking Innovation in Teaching and Learning with Educational Research (in Higher Education)” discusses some opportunities and challenges for linking local practical innovations in teaching and learning with scholarly research that aims to produce shareable knowledge. It broadly builds on the work of the Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation.

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The presentation includes some general notes about what is considered to be an innovation, in general, and in teaching and learning, in particular, in Australian context. It argues that opportunities for linking practical improvements in university’s teaching and learning with high-quality high-value knowledge-generating educational research are hugely underutilised. Local improvements in teaching and learning, particularly those that involve innovative uses of ICT, could hugely benefit from adopting more explicit knowledge-focused approaches to practical innovation. The presentation points out to two concrete approaches that could help to create this link at a micro (course, program, etc.) and community (organisation) levels, respectively:

  1. Design-based research and other approaches that aim to produce principled-practical knowledge and
  2. Innovation bootstrapping approach for creating innovating organisations.

Overall, innovation in teaching and learning in university settings is it self a phenomenon that needs much more deliberative innovation and research.

Educational research as an interdisciplinary epistemic craft

This set of slides has been prepared for a workshop “Interdisciplinary methods for researching teaching and learning”. It summarises some ideas about intellectual work across conventional (disciplinary) boundaries in education. A number of them draw on experiences working in the field of the learning sciences and writing the Epistemic fluency book. The main message is the paradoxical tension between what educational research is as practice and how educational research is organised and institutionalised as a formal research field (aka. discipline).

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Wicked problems and epistemic fluency

What is the nature of wicked professional problems? What kinds of knowledge and capabilities are entailed in solving them? Some insights are summarised in Peter Goodyear’s recent presentation “Understanding the nature and impact of wicked problems and unpredictable futures on employability” presented at Think Tank Employment vs Employability – What do we owe our graduates in the age of Digital Communications & Liquid Practice?, Charles Sturt University. It draws on Chapter 19 “Teaching and learning for epistemic fluency” from Epistemic fluency book. If you are interested in the practicalities, then you may be interested in reading this chapter. It synthesises and illustrates four kinds of pedagogical approaches that could help prepare students for solving different kinds of complex professional problems. The abstract of the chapter is bellow.


Chapter 19: Teaching and learning for epistemic fluency

In this chapter, we turn towards the practicalities of professional education. We use an examination of four broad approaches to education to assess what each can offer to those professional educators who are looking to teach for epistemic fluency. These educational approaches come from a range of sources – not just from professional education. All these approaches focus on fine-tuning learners’ intelligent sensitivity to the critical features of the external environment. However, each of them aims to help learners make distinct connections between different kinds of knowledge and coordinate distinct ways of knowing and acting within the world. Thus, we argue that each has a part to play in completing the jigsaw of education for epistemic fluency. In shorthand terms, the approaches focus on: a) knowledge integration and cognitive flexibility; b) playing epistemic games; c) designerly work on knowledge building and d) learning to design inquiry.

eBook version of Epistemic Fluency and Professional Education has been published

The eBook version of  Epistemic Fluency and Professional Education has been published at http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-94-007-4369-4. It’s free for those who have access to an institutional SpringerLink account.

Free previews are not yet operational, but you can download the front matter. Sample Chapter 2 is  available  in Springer’s online bookstore (it says 2 pages, but it is actually the whole chapter). 

Reviews, comments and other kinds of feedback are most welcome. Feel free to post them here or email us.

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Epistemic fluency in Liberal Arts programs

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Our work on epistemic fluency has been nicely taken up by Thomas Carey in his article “Is the Future of Liberal Arts Programs “K-Shaped”?’ published in Inside Higher ED. The article offers a very interesting rethinking of the learning outcomes traditionally associated with Liberal Arts education and possible new ways for (re)designing Liberal Arts majors. Epistemic fluency is at the core of the offered perspective. Few quotes:

We aren’t planning to encourage all our Humanities majors to take a minor in Economics or Business to bolster their value proposition in the workplace – that would only encourage the impression that expertise in particular workplace domains is the key to graduates’ success. Instead, one of the ways we are tackling this challenge is through exploring epistemic fluency in particular workplace knowledge practices rather than particular professional knowledge domains.

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Just as we need to integrate the development of essential learning outcomes into development of student capabilities in their major disciplines, there has to be a strong intersection of all of the K-elements ‒ discipline depth, essential outcome breadth and documented capability in one or more emerging knowledge practices ‒ in order for the desired epistemic fluency to mature.

Read the full article here